No primary sources on ghosts

NH Civil War Gal

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Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
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In all the primary sources I’ve read, I’ve read about superstitions and premonitions of death but I’ve never read about ghosts of other soldiers - even when they are passing through old battlefields (like Bull Run) or even camping at old battlefields. I was thinking about that last night when I was reading a diary that said, something on the order, “we are back to an old camping place where the ashes of long ago camp fires and burnt out wagons are.”

You just know there would have been a handful of graves around, maybe by now unmarked, from sickness alone. Yet I haven’t come across any accounts of soldiers feeling spooked within the camps.

I’ve come across plenty of accounts of soldier feeling spooked on picket and even a funny one where a picket was laying down to hide and something “ghostly” brushed him and it was a raccoon and it frightened him more than anything else ever did during the war.

Any ideas on this?
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
In all the primary sources I’ve read, I’ve read about superstitions and premonitions of death but I’ve never read about ghosts of other soldiers - even when they are passing through old battlefields (like Bull Run) or even camping at old battlefields. I was thinking about that last night when I was reading a diary that said, something on the order, “we are back to an old camping place where the ashes of long ago camp fires and burnt out wagons are.”

You just know there would have been a handful of graves around, maybe by now unmarked, from sickness alone. Yet I haven’t come across any accounts of soldiers feeling spooked within the camps.

I’ve come across plenty of accounts of soldier feeling spooked on picket and even a funny one where a picket was laying down to hide and something “ghostly” brushed him and it was a raccoon and it frightened him more than anything else ever did during the war.

Any ideas on this?
I wonder if some did, but never mentioned it for fear of ridicule. And they may have felt “unsettled” but not attributed it to any ghostly presence. Then again, maybe the spirits decided that the experiences of war were haunting enough, and left them alone.
 

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
Im not sure Id have gone back to "old camping spots" after having seen death first-hand on them, but it was a different time when your land in many cases had battle(s) fought on it.

As for ghostly haunts, my wife treated me to a birthday weekend about 10 years ago at the Doubleday Inn, only B&B within the actual battlefield perimeter at Gettysburg. We had to be within the yard of the B&B after 5 or 6pm, when the park closed to the public. The B&B owners warned us not to venture out of the yard after dark or we'd be trespassing on the battlefield. Regardless, a few would still wander around within walking distance of the B&B.

We were at the breakfast table with several other guests the first morning after our arrival and a mother and her young son of about 10 years old were talking very excitedly about being at Iverson's pits the night before where Alfred Iverson's NC troops were slaughtered. They had gone out to see if they could "catch a ghost" on camera or capture anything on a small cassette digital recorder they were carrying. Disappointed after spending 30 minutes or so in silence, they left and returned to the B&B, not listening to the recorder until a few minutes before breakfast the next morning. They said they hadn't expected to hear anything when all of a sudden, a voice could be heard on the recorder saying "get out" or something to that effect. Skeptical, we asked if the boy would mind going up to his room to get the recorder so we could all hear it.

I swear we all heard the same thing - a very clear sounding voice. I can't recall if it said "get out" or "go away" or remember exactly what the words were, but I can tell you that we all got chills and had goose bumps when we heard it. We must've replayed it a half dozen times at the breakfast table.

Of course, that prompted us to go out "ghost hunting" that night at dusk just as darkness set but shortly before the park closed. I probably took a hundred or more pics - nothing out of the ordinary until I stepped into Devils Den and crouched down for a pic - one pic was normal, but the other filled with orbs surrounding me. They were taken only seconds apart, too. The other one that seemed "ghostly" was a panoramic set of photos I took looking down from Devil's Den. I took 4 or 5 photos as I swept from left to right across the panorama and the third or fourth pic looked like a fog swirling atop the ground and around the tree line. It was creepy.

I'm not a big believer in ghosts and am a skeptic of the supernatural, but places like Gettysburg often leave me doubting my own confidence in the matter!
 
Last edited:

bayouace

Corporal
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Location
Louisiana
Here you go NH Civil War Gal:
Ghost Ships of the Mississippi at Port Hudson, Oct. 23, 7-9 PM
"Park ranger will lead a night-time tour to Fort Desperate and share stories of paranormal phenomena that has occurred on the battlefield, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, October 23". Followed by the firing of the Park's 42 pounder and a pyrotechnic model demonstration of the destruction of the USS Mississippi by Port Hudson batteries.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
I read one account of an officer whose unit was camping on an old battleground and his horse, who was picketted nearby, refused to settle in for the night and kept neighing and pawing at the ground. The orderly was unable to calm the animal, so the officer finally got up in the middle of the night to see what he could do. He found the horse, by his pawing, had uncovered a human skull that was shining white in the moonlight. As soon as the skull was removed the horse calmed down and everyone went to sleep. It was surprisingly to me that no human seemed particularly disturbed sleeping in this "graveyard."

My dad told me a story of landing on Saipan to deliver supplies to US forces about a month after the battle there in WW2. He and some buddies climbed to the top of the cliff where the civilians had committed suicide rather than surrender to the Americans. Some had jumped over the cliff, but some had cut the throats of their children and then slashed their wrists. He said skeletons were all over the place, adults and children. He and his friends started playing a game to see who could kick a skull the farthest.

Dad was the kindest, most tender hearted person I knew, and he expressed shame and surprise later in life that he felt nothing as he was kicking these skulls around. He said the first time you saw a dead body it shook you, but after a while it just became commonplace and you didn't think about it.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Im not sure Id have gone back to "old camping spots" after having seen death first-hand on them, but it was a different time when your land in many cases had battle(s) fought on it.

As for ghostly haunts, my wife treated me to a birthday weekend about 10 years ago at the Doubleday Inn, only B&B within the actual battlefield perimeter at Gettysburg. We had to be within the yard of the B&B after 5 or 6pm, when the park closed to the public. The B&B owners warned us not to venture out of the yard after dark or we'd be trespassing on the battlefield. Regardless, a few would still wander around within walking distance of the B&B.

We were at the breakfast table with several other guests the first morning after our arrival and a mother and her young son of about 10 years old were talking very excitedly about being at Iverson's pits the night before where Alfred Iverson's NC troops were slaughtered. They had gone out to see if they could "catch a ghost" on camera or capture anything on a small cassette digital recorder they were carrying. Disappointed after spending 30 minutes or so in silence, they left and returned to the B&B, not listening to the recorder until a few minutes before breakfast the next morning. They said they hadn't expected to hear anything when all of a sudden, a voice could be heard on the recorder saying "get out" or something to that effect. Skeptical, we asked if the boy would mind going up to his room to get the recorder so we could all hear it.

I swear we all heard the same thing - a very clear sounding voice. I can't recall if it said "get out" or "go away" or remember exactly what the words were, but I can tell you that we all got chills and had goose bumps when we heard it. We must've replayed it a half dozen times at the breakfast table.

Of course, that prompted us to go out "ghost hunting" that night at dusk just as darkness set but shortly before the park closed. I probably took a hundred or more pics - nothing out of the ordinary until I stepped into Devils Den and crouched down for a pic - one pic was normal, but the other filled with orbs surrounding me. They were taken only seconds apart, too. The other one that seemed "ghostly" was a panoramic set of photos I took looking down from Devil's Den. I took 4 or 5 photos as I swept from left to right across the panorama and the third or fourth pic looked like a fog swirling atop the ground and around the tree line. It was creepy.

I'm not a big believer in ghosts and am a skeptic of the supernatural, but places like Gettysburg often leave me doubting my own confidence in the matter!
Alot of ghost hunters have equipment now days.Ive been to a few where people have equipment. It's tedious sitting in the dark listening to scratching sounds. But when you do hear something it's usually mean or "get out". Maybe we should take the hint, lol
 
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